Full Football Writing Festival Line-Up On Sale

THE ANNUAL Football Writing Festival (FWF) is set to return to Manchester later this month.

Now in its fourth year, the FWF brings together some of the biggest names in football journalism for an exciting program of events, covering everything from the politics behind football to the grueling process youngsters go through in order to play professionally.

This year, the lineup is bigger and better than ever, with the likes of Joey Barton, the New York Times’ Rory Smith and the Guardian’s David Conn all sharing their experiences and offering their thoughts on the subjects raised by some of the year’s biggest football books.

The schedule of events will take place across three locations in Manchester – the National Football Museum, Waterstones and Hotel Football. Tickets are priced between £8 and £10 for each event, or a ‘Season Pass’ for all 9 events is available for just £45 + booking fee at http://bit.ly/fwf2017-season-pass.

Here’s what football writing enthusiasts will have in store:

Weds 30 August, Hotel Football Old Trafford (7pm)
The Blizzard – Live

Editor of The Blizzard Jonathan Wilson will be assembling a crack team of experts from the quarterly football periodical’s extensive squad of contributors.

Festival regular Rory Smith has the enviable role of the New York Times Premier League correspondent, and was the man behind one of our favourite books at last year’s festival, Mister.

Sunday Times football correspondent and author of Fearless: The Amazing Underdog Story of Leicester City Jonathan Northcroft joins the festival for the first time.

The Football Ramble’s Marcus Speller returns as host for the evening.

Expect the football issues of the day to be thoroughly dissected, plus gratuitous mentions of the AFCON in this regular festival favourite.

Tickets: £10 / £8 + booking fee from http://bit.ly/fwf2017-blizzard


Thursday 31 August, National Football Museum (11am, 1pm & 3pm)
Back To Football School – Two!

The season’s begun, the holidays are almost over… it’s time to get yourself ready to go back to class with the return of Football School. Proving you can learn almost anything as long as you know enough about football, join author Ben Lytleton at the National Football Museum in a classroom with a difference. The perfect way to cushion the blow of the end of summer for younger fans.

Tickets: Under 14s £3 + booking fee, accompanying adults free from http://bit.ly/fwf2017-football-school


Thursday 31 August, National Football Museum (7pm)
David Conn: The Fall Of The House Of FIFA

Football Journalist of the Year David Conn has made a career of pursuing big issues in world football, and has won many admirers for his coverage of the ongoing pursuit of justice over the Hillsborough disaster. He’ll be discussing his latest book, The Fall Of The House of FIFA, an investigation into corruption at the top of world football, for which he even secured an interview with the deposed head of FIFA, Sepp Blatter.

The BBC’s Richard Conway hosts the discussion with David, getting to the heart of what has happened at the top of international football, and where it leaves the global game.

Tickets: £8 / £6 + booking fee from http://bit.ly/fwf-fifa


Friday 1 September, National Football Museum (7pm)

How To Get Ahead In Online Journalism

The world of online journalism has transformed the way fans think about and consume football. A chance to level the playing field for independent voices has become a way for sites to turn every press conference into 5 different stories. But alongside minute-by-minute coverage of every game and endless transfer speculation, there’s still room for quality, originality and insight. Our panel, hosted by author and Football 365 editor Daniel Storey, brings together a wide range of contributors sharing their experiences of what makes football content work online.

Goal’s Peter Staunton, JOE.co.uk’s Simon Lloyd and SheKicks’ editor Jen O’Neill will all be discussing what it takes to make yourself heard online, with further guests to be announced.

Tickets: £8 / £6 + booking fee from http://bit.ly/fwf2017-online


Saturday 2 September, National Football Museum (6.30pm)
The Non-League Show Live

Join host Caroline Barker for a non-league special at the National Football Museum.

Guests include Nige Tassell, whose Bottom Corner: A Season With The Dreamers of Non-League Football is a must-read for hopeless football romantics everywhere.

John-Paul O’Neill was one of the founders of FC United. His upcoming book Red Rebels: The Glazers and The FC Revolution looks at what it takes for fans to create a new club, and asks how long a club can stay true to its’ principles in modern football.

Simon Hughes‘ book On The Brink: A Journey Through English Football’s North West explores the many levels of the game in the country’s most successful football region.

Tickets: £10 / £8 + booking fee from http://bit.ly/fwf2017-non-league


Monday 4 September, Waterstones Manchester Deansgate, (7pm)
Red Kings: Busby and Paisley

Patrick Barclay’s definitive biography of Manchester United’s legendary manager Sir Matt Busby is published this September. For this special event, Patrick will be joined by Ian Herbert, whose Quiet Genius profiles the first manager to win the European Cup 3 times, the great Bob Paisley. Having played together at Anfield before the outbreak of WWII, the two managers would remain friends for life and lead two North West clubs to multiple domestic and European honours.

Special guests on the night, including Manchester United winger John Aston, will provide more insight on what it was like to play for the two men, with BBC Sport’s Anna Thompson hosting.

Tickets: £10 / £8 + booking fee from http://bit.ly/fwf2017-red-kings


Tuesday 5 September, Hotel Football Old Trafford (7.30pm)
Opta: Outside The Box, into The Mixer

The team from stats gurus Opta and Michael Cox, the man behind zonalmarking.net, reunite at Hotel Football for this year’s Football Writing Festival. Cox’s The Mixer is one of the football books of the year, analysing 25 years of tactical tweaks that have transformed the Premier League.

Behind the tactics are the stats, revolutionising how the game is analysed and discussed over the last quarter-century, as explored in Duncan Alexander’s new title Outside The Box.

The Independent’s Miguel Delaney joins the panel for a fascinating look at the Premier League era.

Tickets £10 / £8 +booking fee from http://bit.ly/fwf2017-opta


Wednesday 6 September, National Football Museum (7pm)
No Hunger In Paradise

Michael Calvin’s No Hunger In Paradise is another revelatory book from one of football’s most insightful authors of recent years. A close look at football’s talent factory and what goes on behind the scenes at clubs as millions of youngsters dream of making it professionally.

In a discussion chaired by BBC Sport’s Shelley Alexander, Calvin will be joined by guests who can offer first-hand experience of the system as both players and coaches.

Joey Barton is one of football’s most outspoken players. The midfielder spent time as a young player with Everton, before being released by his home-town club and picked up by Manchester City. Joey worked with Michael Calvin on his autobiography, No Nonsense, and will offer unique insight on the journey and pitfalls of making it through the system as a professional footballer.

Paul Lake is another product of the Manchester City academy, and former City captain. His autobiography I’m Not Really Here is a story of one of the most exciting young players of his generation seeing a career ended desperately early by injury, and the effect that loss has on the rest of his life.

One of the football books of the year, No Hunger In Paradise is set to inspire one of the most memorable Football Writing Festival events yet.

Tickets: £10 / £8 + booking fee from http://bit.ly/fwf2017-hunger-paradise


Thursday 7 September, Hotel Football Old Trafford (7.30pm)
FWF’s European Union

After much wrangling and divided opinion, it falls to the Football Writing Festival to bring together a panel to settle the big question in Europe: is the Premier League really still the world’s best league?

Host Reshmin Chowdhury is joined by a pan-European panel of top writing talent to look at where English football really stands alongside its continental cousins: Philippe Auclair, Rafa Honigstein and Sid Lowe make up the big-name panel, with more TBC. We’re expecting a spectacular* end to the festival.

Tickets: £12 / £10 + booking fee from http://bit.ly/fwf2017-euro

*as spectacular as discussion about football can be.

Follow @McrFWF for the latest news and updates from the festival.